Dying Matters, Lets Talk

Introduction to Dying Matters Awareness Week

This week is Dying Matters Awareness Week (From 2 – 6 May 2022), and the goal is to get people talking about death, dying, and bereavement. Healthcare and death are often taboo subjects, but preparing for the worst is essential. So here are some facts about healthcare and death that everyone should know.

Dying matters awareness week is a time to raise awareness about death, dying, and bereavement. It is an opportunity to talk about our mortality and make plans for our end of life.

This year, the theme is “have the Conversation”. Healthcare and death are often taboo subjects, but preparing for the worst is essential. It is not unusual to feel anxious, stressed, guilty, or angry when facing the reality of mortality. These feelings are normal and should not be ignored.

What is death and grief?

Dying is a process that everyone goes through, and grief is the natural reaction to losing a loved one. However, grief is a complex emotion that is often misunderstood. It is not simply sadness but comprises a range of emotions, including anger, guilt, anxiety, and depression. Understanding grief may help us cope.

Understanding how and when to talk about death with loved ones. We can try to make it easier by reading this blog. A plan to deal with the end of a loved one needs to be individualised. Each person’s reaction to loss is unique. Grief is unique to each person and in the circumstances of the loss.

What you need to know about dying and grief

  • Dying is a natural process that everyone will experience.
  • Grief is a normal and natural response to loss.
  • The grieving process is unique to each individual, and there is no “right” or “wrong” way to grieve.
  • There are some standard stages of grief which include denial, anger, bargaining, depression,

The stages of dying

The stages of dying are the physical and psychological changes a person experiences as they approach death.

You may break down the stages into three categories, the early stage, the middle stage, and the last stage.

  • In the early stage of dying, a person will start to eat and drink less. This time can last from a couple of days to several weeks.
  • Alterations characterise the middle stage of dying in the person’s physical appearance, which could last a few hours or several days.
  • During the final stage of dying, disorientation and restlessness may increase. In addition, there will be significant changes in the person’s breathing and continence.

The process of grief

The grief process is a personal experience, and everyone handles it differently. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but there are some typical stages that people tend to go through.

These include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is crucial to allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling and to go at your own pace. Denial is the first stage that people tend to go through. This is when they deny that their loved one is dying and/or fighting death.

Often, they try to pretend that their loved one will get better. Other people may feel numb or experience shock and disbelief.

Many people also get angry. This anger is usually directed at the dying person or their family and friends. Some people try to take matters into their own hands, taking drugs or alcohol to make themselves feel better. There is no shame in feeling angry.

It is healthy to have anger towards someone you love who is dying because it shows that you care and are ready to do something about it. It is essential to allow yourself to feel angry, but it is also important to recognise that holding onto anger for too long is unhealthy.

Acceptance is the last stage that people tend to go through. This is where you accept that your loved one is dying, and you can do nothing to change that.

How to talk about dying

When discussing dying, being respectful and considerate of the person’s feelings is essential. However, it is also essential, to be honest about what is happening and avoid sugarcoating the situation.

Talking about the dying process:

When talking about the dying process, avoid using words like “dying”, “death”, or “when you die”. Using these words could lead the person to believe that there is something they can do to prevent their death or make it longer. Instead, talk about “illness” or the “illness process”.

This clarifies that nothing can be done to change the illness and that there is no way out. Use language that the person would understand, and be specific if they are unwell.

The longer the person stays unwell, the more likely they will give up hope and accept that they will die. If possible, try to find out how the person wants to be discussed before becoming ill.

Advanced care planning

Advanced care planning is discussing and documenting your wishes for future medical care if you cannot make decisions for yourself. This can include whether or not you want to be resuscitated or what kind of pain management you would prefer. You should discuss your wishes with a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

Your healthcare team can give you details of the different medical procedures that may be carried out to help treat your illness, such as surgery or treatment using medication or a device. The goals of advanced care planning are to give you as much control and choice as possible while also protecting the healthcare team’s ability to act in your best interest.

Make your arrangements.

Making arrangements in the event of a terminal illness can be daunting and challenging. However, it is essential to consider your options and make the best decision for yourself and your loved ones.

There are several resources available to help you plan for this eventuality. It is essential to consult with your doctor or other medical professionals to ensure that you make the best choices for your situation.

Resources for further information

If you are struggling to cope with the death of a loved one, there are many resources available to help you. Grief counselling, support groups, and therapy can all help deal with your loss.

Here are some resources you may find helpful:

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